Friday, November 2, 2012

Self Regulated Learning-What is it?

It seems that one of the buzzes around the province these days  is around "self regulated learning".  I have been fascinated listening to the conversations and though I have heard speakers talk about it, and have read some of Shanker's work, I never seem to quite get the whole picture.

This week, I had the opportunity to talk with a professor, Dr. Nancy Perry,  from UBC  - her area of expertise is Self Regulated Learning.  She has a very straight forward approach that I could absolutely understand!  She prepared a handout that is adapted from an article she wrote in theReading Teacher.  This is her summary:  

Self-regulated learners are:

1.  Metacognitive - they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses as a learner, they are aware of the task demands, and they are aware of strategies that they can use to solve problems and cope with difficult tasks.
2.  Motivated for learning - they engage in learning, they focus on deep understanding and personal progress, they are willing to try new challenges, they persist and they view errors as an opportunity to learn.
3.  Strategic - they have a repertoire of strategies, and they know when to use them.

Wow!  This is great.  Much of this is what we are working on in Through a Different Lens ... without knowing it!  We are looking at helping students become more confident learners... how?  through understanding their strengths, through becoming motivated and engaged, and through thinking about how to apply what they know to different academic and social tasks.  There are many blogs on our Different Lens blog that illustrate teachers using strategies to help kids become more aware.

Dr. Nancy Perry goes on to say that self-regulated learning occurs in classrooms where:

1.  Students have a lot of autonomy - choices, control over challenges, opportunities to collaborate and responsibility for evaluating their own work.  
2.  Teachers provide instrumental support - through establishing routines and consistent participation structures, where they teach and model learning and problem solving, where they guide students thinking and performing, and where they guide student choices, provide information, feedback and encouragement, and where they talk about learning and self regulated learning
3.  Teachers engage in non-threatening evaluation practices - where evaluation is on-going and embedded, where it is a process not just a product, where it focuses on personal progress, and where it encourages learners to participation in the evaluation.  

Again... I see so much of what we are trying to do embedded in her words.  Giving students choice and opportunities to work with others, providing support and modeling learning, and using alternate ways to evaluate progress.